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“Still as great as ever!” 5 of 5 stars
Review of VH Gran Ventana Beach Resort

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VH Gran Ventana Beach Resort
3.5 of 5 Resort (All-Inclusive)   |   Playa Dorada | PO Box 22, Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #5 of 42 hotels in Puerto Plata
orangeville, ontario
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
9 hotel reviews
52 helpful votes 52 helpful votes
“Still as great as ever!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 29, 2012

We returned for our 5th visit, last was in April '11 and the first was in 2001. First of all, contrary to another review, this place is NOT "broken down". This resort is ranked #6 out 50 resorts in Puerto Plata for the right reasons. Since a large majority of guests are repeaters, it is a foregone conclusion that it is great value for money. When we arrived they had not got us down as repeaters so we did not get any special treatment or room. Our room was spotless and I am very particular regarding cleanliness. I have never seen mold and of course the toilets do not flush as efficiently in these countries. You could have clean sheets every day if you wanted to and there was no shortage of clean towels. The beds are a bit hard but who cares. We did note this time around the TV was a new one with flat screen butwe do not do to watch TV. Repeaters do not get special treatment but the staff do remember you and there is an invitation to a cocktail party where there is an opportunity to win free trip to Ocean World, etc.

All you moaners should know that most of the money you pay for your holiday goes towards your air fare, transfer, departure tax & other taxes (if you are Canadian, I don't know about the other countries package holidays). You could not stay at a resort in Canada, U.S., Europe or U.K. for the price that the resort charges - all inclusive . We have travelled to South America, other parts of Dominican, Mexico, Cuba, Panama & the U.K. and some times we have gone back to the same resorts but the G.V. is the only one where we have returned and still liked it as much as the first time. We have stayed at 5 star resorts which are more luxurious and expensive but are suites, marble floors, bidets, etc that important? At the G.V. they are constantly cleaning the walkways and halls. The staff work very hard & due to the economy they have had to let a lot of staff go.

We stayed at the G.V. the first two weeks of January and met some lovely people. This is very much a family oriented resort but this time we did note that there were more young people that looked to be college age there. There were several weddings with large groups so I think that may have explained it.

The food, and I am a very fuzzy eater, was excellent. They cater for all nationalities. The a la carte restaurants are very good but we ate mainly at the buffet restaurant.

We met some nice people, including two lovely families from Brampton (Ontario), two sisters and their husbands with their seven children who were all very well behaved, a family from Barrie and people from the U.K. - Fred and Noreen (who was the housekeeper for a very famous English novelist) and their friends from Spalding, and Carol & Lee from England.
But who would have thought that we would meet someone from our village in England (where we were both born) - Sue and Stuart who have been staying at the GV for the past 14 years - what a small world. We met a lot of people who have been to the GV for 16 times, 24 times and 28 times. This in itself speaks volumes for the resort. There were also a large number of Finns staying at the resort and we recognized a couple that we had seen there before who were staying for six weeks.

My husband is a football (soccer) supporter and went to watch his team play at Philips's bar which is in the plaza just outside the resort. I was quite happy sitting reading by the pool if it was the afternoon or on the beach if the game was on in the morning.

No need to reserve palpapas on the beach as there are lots. We usually go down to the beach after breakfast (we are early risers) and stay there except going up for lunch - The beach for the G.V. is the best on the complex as it is the only one that is raked. There is a little coral reef in a semi circle near the entrance to the beach and is safe for children and also not bad for snorkelling. For those who like to walk, you can walk both ways on the beach for 30 minutes or so. .

We were not happy with our tour rep this time as she seemed to be only interested in telling guests not to buy jewellery at the plaza or on the beach but just to go to a Canadian woman's store in Puerto Plata. Anyway I was offended by this as I have bought Larimar and Amber and know that it is genuine. I bought a bracelet from Alberto at the Larimar Shop upstairs in the plaza. She seemed miserable all the time unlike the friendly Thompson and First Choice Rep. from the U.K.

Our only negative was the flight home to Toronto. It was a different plane and the seats were really crammed together (we were in economy) and even the club class seats were no larger.

  • Stayed January 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
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Toronto, Canada
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed January 29, 2012 via mobile

I stayed here with my boyfriend in January 2012 for one week.

Our first impression when we walked off the bus and around the resort was "wow".. Grounds and hotel itself is beautiful and very clean.

We had a room in the saona building in room 1333. Great room, very clean, flat screen tv and even a sky light! Our maid was great! Always left us extra water (we only had to request this once and she continued to leave us extra bottles)

The last 3 nights we had to shower in cold water... Very dissapointing.

We were disappointed with the service here. Everyone says its excellent but somehow we did not see this. Only 1 of the 5 nights we ate at the buffet for dinner were we offered water or something to drink. We had to get it ourselves... We must have been sitting in the wrong areas because others were getting the service, just not us! Same with breakfast... I like to drink tea with my breakfast but it seemed the guy only came over to us when we were finished eating. Very dissapointing. So, we got drinks ourselves, which isn't a huge deal, but with almost every review saying how great the service was, I expected different.

I didn't find the bar staff to be overly friendly, even when you try to start conversation or tip them... Makes no difference.

The entertainment crew is amazing. Very friendly and always trying to get you to have a good time! The evening entertainment was good and bad... Some nights we laughed histarically and other nights were just blah.

Beach is nice.. The coral reef is great with lots of different fish to see!! The water is rather dark infront of the hotel due to the reef but it gets nicer down the beach!

There is a night club just outside the resort which I have heard is a good time. It's very safe to walk into the complex and shop.

Food is very good at the buffet and ocean grill. The Italian restaurant however was not good!! Do not have the chicken parmigiana. Awful! The chicken tasted like microwaved rubber with processed cheese on it. Should have stuck to pasta.

Other then the lack of service at the restaurant we had a great time! Would we go back? Probably not. We have both agreed we like Cuba better.

  • Stayed January 2012
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Napanee, Canada
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 29, 2012

The Gran Ventana Hotel is a very quiet resort which is what we were looking for. The resort is small and the service was great. The beach was amazing. You could walk for miles in either direction although walking to the Orange Market was my favourite. Takes about 25 minutes from the resort to get to the Orange Market but well worth the effort. The resort is spotless. The staff are friendly and Jackie at the quiet pool was so much fun. We chose to stay most of the time at the quiet pool as we could have conversations, read and just relax. The activities pool is quiet loud with music and games which is great if that is what you want. We did not do any of the excersions as we have done them many times before. We did however hire a cab for the morning and explored Puerto Plata's attractions such as the rum factory, the amber factory, cigar factory and then rode the cable car which was an experience. You are about 3,000 feet in the air and the view is spectacular. We walked around the Playa Dorada complex and felt perfectly safe. No issues at all. The food at the ala carte's were superb. We attended all three and they were all delicious. My favourite was the Italian. We asked for a room away from the pool and were accommodated. Others said it was very noisy and interrupted their sleep. I was lucky I guess as we never heard anything once we went to bed. We didn't watch any of the evening shows so I cannot comment on that. All in all it was a great holiday and I would recommend the resort.

Room Tip: Ask for a room away from the pool. My room was 1332 and it was great. Pillows are very uncomfortab...
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  • Stayed January 2012, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed January 29, 2012

I didn't rate this hotel as terrible because there were some good points. The staff was wonderful. Anything they tried to help you with almost anything that you asked for. It's not their fault that the owners let the hotel get run down. Also, we stayed at the hotel Christmas week and while most other resorts have a shortage of pool towels and beach chairs during this week, that was not the case at the Gran Ventana. Almost any time that you went to the beach or pool area, there were plenty of lounge chairs. There were always pool towels at the towel hut. One problem we did have is someone took our towels from the lounge chairs. The attendant at the towel hut would not give us replacement towels without towel cards. The front desk personel refused to give us new towel cards and said "you should not leave your towels on the lounge chairs." I guess they want you to carry your towel into the restaurants and into the pool!

So why the "POOR" rating?
1) The first room they gave us had no remote control. We called the front desk and they brought a remote control but it didn't matter because the TV didn't work. The double lock on the door was broken off the door. The hair dryer in the bathroom didn't work. There was mold around the entire periphery of the bathroom sink. The housekeeping staff can't clean the mold off because someone caulked over it. When you run she water in the sink, the water slowly drains away (the sink is clogged). The enamel in the bathtub was chipped away in several spots. The towel bars were coming off the walls.
2) The front desk staff offered to change our rooms (our children had a second room) but could not give us two rooms together until the next day. The second day, we switched rooms. The new rooms were much better but I feel sorry for the guests that got my original next.
3) If you like a hard mattress, the beds are fine. If not, your in for trouble.
4) Our friend was staying in a room on the second floor of a three story building. Water was leaking down from her bathroom ceiling (gross). She too had to switch rooms.
5) The hotel's website advertises that they have bicycles for the guests. There is one bicycle which is broken.
6) There is a gym with one treadmill, one stationary bike, one stairmaster, and a Universal weight system. It all looks like it was installed when the hotel was first built and never updated or replaced.
7) There is a tennis court that they charge extra to use. No wonder no one ever uses it.
8) The food in the Octopus restaurant was really good. The Italian and Seafood restaurants were fair at best and both restaurants ran out of certain items on the menu.
9) The buffet, which is where you end up eating most of your meals, has a lot to talk about:
There were bugs in the food,
The shrimp were not edible - they had a funny taste and were like rubber,
One day they had grilled chicken at the grilling station. Other than that, every day it was the same hamburgers, pork chops, and some kind of hot dog/sausage.
The salad bar was always good,
The fruit was usually good,
The fish selections were usually dry, overcooked, and almost impossible to eat because there always seemed to be lots of little bones left in the fish, for you to choke on.
The soups were usually good.
The breakfast was usually the best meal at the buffet simply because it's hard to mess up eggs, waffles and pancakes. The chef at the omlete station was really good at efficiently cooking up to six omelets at the same time.

9) If you want to visit a casino, there is not a casino within walking distance. We needed to take a cab every night to a casino. Other than that, ther is a show every night but it's the typical Caribbean singing and dancing for about an hour and then nothing else is going on. One night they had a magician and one night was Karaoke night.
10) After they buffet closes in they evening, they only place to get a snack ia a cart they have near the pool that has cheese sandwiches wrapped in plastic, or hot dogs - just what you want at midnight! How about providing some cookies or a piece of cake or a donut at night!
11) The free scuba diving lesson is really only if you are willing to pay to go in the ocean afterwards. Otherwise, they will take you for five minutes in the swimming pool.

All in all, pay a few more dollars and stay in a nicer place!

Room Tip: Choose a room in a different hotel
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  • Stayed December 2011, traveled with family
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
new brunswick canada
1 review
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 28, 2012

Just got back from this most awesome resort , Wow I loved it. It is my first time at a ressort. I have been on 4 cruises & thought there was nothing as good as cruising but I must say the Gran Venta surpassed all expectations. The resort is absolutely breathtaking. The staff amazing. Especially Manny & Junior (part of the animation team) who go out of their way to give you a good time. The food is excellent. The place is so clean that you can walk in your barefeet & never get dirty. The beach is awesome even though there are lots of vendors. You just say "No thankyou" & they leave. I would definatily return

Room Tip: Highest floor very quiet
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  • Stayed January 2012, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
nottinghamshire
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 28, 2012

We went in January this year and it was brill from start to finish
RECEPTION always helpfull, we first had a room that had a lot of noise from the disco at the rear of the hotel , just base noise if you are a bit deaf it will not bother you but the TV was well Naff, so we asked for another room and they said ok and we moved to one nearer the front which had a sea view was Quiet and a new TV
ROOMS some are in need of a paint job but are still great and some have already had a revamp, air con is good and there are ceiling fans as well
POOLS there is one very quiet one and the other much larger pool with the entertainment is brill, you can walk in and upto a bar, there is a volley ball net up all the time and people play on and off all day great fun and im 60 ample sunbeds everywhere
BARS are all great, drinks are all good even the white wine is drinkable, dozens of cocktails, if you take a thermal beaker with a top they are happy to fill them , bar staff all very freindly, well after all its the only way to get tipped ! and they do not earn a lot so try to tip them, there is a Bar on the beach and also the ocean view ala carte restaurant.
ON THE BEACH lots of sunbeds, palm trees, warm water, its safe to have a walk in either direction, go left for 15 mins and you get to a few shops (sheds) on the beach with some men very much begging you to go in and buy something, didnt like that to much but say no and they leave you alone ,til the next one, but we did go in and barter for a pair of shoes and a necklace , so all good fun in the end. There is a lot of Vendors on the beach but same again just say no thank you and they will leave you alone.
FOOD now then im a bit picky on eating, but the food is great huge selection for all tastes, there is 3 a la carte to visit you need to book them when you arrive if you want to see them all,
we did 2 of them and the italian is great, but i personally missed the amount choice that was available in the buffet restaurant, but very nice to be waited on and very good service it was.
THE REP, Silvia without doubt the best Rep ive met !, very informative, very helpfull.
TRIPS we went on the Safari in a open truck with seats, very good trip into the world of the local people, Manny the tour guide was was very good and told us all about there way of life and all the fruit and plants, in the PM we went to a fresh water river for a swim,very good and then to the beach for some Boogie boarding , had some fun there, but no toilets in the afternoon so be carefull how many of the free drinks you have, Lunch was local style ,Rice chicken, pasta, bread etc (not Fab but OK )
ENTERTAINMENT lots to do if you can be bothered to get off the sunbed, enough for the kids to do and the night time is what it usually is not Fab but they do make an effort
WILL WE GO BACK OH yes !! if we get the chance.
WEATHER be warned it can rain in there winter time we were lucky but the week before it rained on and off for 4 days

Room Tip: Try to get a sea view The quiet pool area has a disco behind it with some basey boom boom noise in...
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  • Stayed January 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 26, 2012

I was at the Gran Ventana for 2 nights Jan 2012. All in all we had a great stay.
The beach is right beside the resort. It is clean and it a great place to take a walk
at night as there aren't too many people around. Playa Dorada feels safe as it is
part of a gated resort complex. We were approached by vendors several times during the day but they didn't hassle us like I expected. Their is a bar on the beach and a grill style restaurant.
The first room we were given smelled like people had been smoking. We complained immediately and were given the option to change room or have a de-oderizer sent to the
room. We asked for a new room and had it within an hour - no problems. The second room
was great although the bed was pretty hard on my back. They are definitely on the hard side.
The swimming pool is nice, although it closes at 7:00 pm. No hot tub :(
The food was excellent even in the buffet restaurant. Make sure you get reservations made
as soon as possible for the other restaurants. We went to the Italian and the food was
amazing!! Try the Lasagna!!
The shows were actually pretty good! We stopped by and watched the dance performance. One of the guys did a Michael Jackson number that was phenomenal! Different types of
shows each night.
The thing that kinda bugged me about the Gran Ventana is that it is not totally "all-inclusive."
This was my first trip to a resort, but I was surprised at all the little things you had to pay for.
For example, to connect to the internet, you had to buy a code for $10 that gave you an hour of browsing time. Also, an hour of tennis is included in the package, but if you don't have you own rackets that is going to cost you $5 each to rent them. These sort of things
got on my nerves...but then you can just hit up the bar for tons of free drinks anytime you want with no hassle, so I shouldn't complain.
The place is very clean and well kept! The workers are all friendly and put in long days to
make an enjoyable experience for everyone. I would definitely go back...oh yeah, we booked through travelocity and paid 45% off regular rates. Check that out if your paying full price.

Room Tip: Don't accept a room that smells like smoke...You're paying the money!!
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  • Stayed January 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 8
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about VH Gran Ventana Beach Resort

Address: Playa Dorada | PO Box 22, Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic
Location: Caribbean > Dominican Republic > Puerto Plata Province > Puerto Plata
Amenities:
Beach Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#4 Top resorts Hotel in Puerto Plata
#4 Family Hotel in Puerto Plata
#4 Romantic Hotel in Puerto Plata
#5 On the Beach Hotel in Puerto Plata
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:3.5 star — VH Gran Ventana Beach Resort 3.5*
Reservation Options:
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Also Known As:
Gran Ventana Beach Hotel
Gran Ventana Dominican Republic
Gran Ventana Puerto Plata
Gran Ventana Beach Resort Puerto Plata
Hotel Gran Ventana Beach
Grand Ventana Beach Resort
Gran Ventana Hotel Dominican Republic

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